It’s about that time of year where I embrace easy, crowd pleasing and cookout-friendly recipes- be it main courses, satisfying sides, or light and refreshing desserts and beverages. I am all in on everything grilled, tossed or loaded with citrus this time of year- and I thought I’d kick off my Summer 2022 recipe series with a crisp and flavorful spin on the much-beloved pasta salad that is both quick and hassle-free to whip up at your next pool party or backyard BBQ.
With bursts of garlic, avocado and lemon, this Caesar pasta salad is the perfect pairing with hot dogs, cheeseburgers, or even just by itself- and it’s not heavy in the least- so you don’t have to worry about sinking if you go for a dip right after you eat it!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 small avocados, pitted and peeled
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons anchovy paste
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces uncooked pasta, such as rotini or penne
- 2 hearts of romaine
- 1½ cups croutons
WHAT YOU’LL DO:
1. MAKE THE DRESSING: In a blender, combine the mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire, avocados, garlic and anchovy paste. Pulse until blended and then, with the blender running, stream in the olive oil. Transfer the dressing to a bowl and stir in the Parmesan cheese and pepper.
2. MAKE THE SALAD: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain the pasta. Transfer to a large serving bowl to cool slightly.
3. Cut the romaine hearts into 1-inch pieces, then add them to the bowl with the pasta. Add the dressing and toss to combine.
4. Add the croutons and garnish with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.
NOTE: If you aren’t serving the salad immediately, refrain from adding the croutons to avoid them getting soggy. To store the salad, cover it securely with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for up to 48 hours.
I love serving this dish chilled, especially on a hot day- since each bite is filled with so much crunch and mouthwatering tangy flavor that truly makes it feel like Summer.
And I always recommend making a little extra of the dressing that you can either drizzle onto or mix into the salad if desired- because I think it just tastes so, so delicious!